The newly-formed anti-red tape team of the Department of Finance (DOF) has partnered with trade regulatory agencies to simplify the processes in securing documentary requirements for imports and exports, along with harmonizing their systems, as part of the Duterte administration’s efforts to ease the way of doing business and facilitate the country’s integration into the regional community of Southeast Asian economies.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the trade regulatory agencies involved are coordinated under the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), which is co-chaired by the Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez for the public sector and business leader Guillermo Luz for the private sector.
These trade regulatory agencies and the DOF anti-red tape team headed by Undersecretary Gil Beltran will jointly implement the Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Program, which aims to “simplify the import/export documentary requirements by streamlining their processes and converging systems,” Dominguez said.
“This will go a long way toward facilitating increased regional trade links and the entry or expansion of businesses,” he said.
Besides teaming up with trade regulatory agencies, the DOF is also working together with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to develop the government’s automated business and citizen registry systems that would serve as the primary tools in cutting red tape and reducing processing time for government frontline services.
Beltran said earlier that the DOF and the DICT have started identifying the data to be gathered from various government agencies for the automated business and citizen registries.
Dominguez said he is envisioning a system comparable to the one used by the online buying portal Amazon.com, which can process millions of purchases from clients by requiring just a one-time registration of pertinent data that can then be validated and used for all transactions.
“Our IT (information technology) people are working closely with revenue people to make things like that as simple as possible. If Amazon can do that, I don’t know how many millions of customers; I think we can certainly do something like that,” Dominguez said.
The government agencies where the data would be collected from include the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Social Security System (SSS), Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PhilHealth), Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG Fund) and the Office of the Treasurer of every local government unit (LGU), Beltran said.
He said pertinent data usually required from applicants who want to secure licenses, permits and other official documents would be culled from these agencies so that they could be linked and shared in the registries.
Beltran said the registries will serve as a one-stop shop for individuals and corporate entities to easily track and validate their records, removing from them the burden of proving legitimacy.
He said a nationwide information campaign would be conducted before the registries become fully operational to educate the government agencies involved and the users as well on how to use the automated systems.
A minimal fee would be charged for the use of the registries, he added.
The data sharing in the registries would help streamline frontline government services by doing away with the repetitious process of applicants having to fill up numerous forms and submitting to different agencies the same official papers, which, in the first place, are already in the government database, Beltran said.
Beltran said the Business Registry and the Citizens Registry, which will be primarily developed by the DICT, is a lasting solution to the perennial problem of red tape in all government offices.
The Business Registry would be a database of all operating businesses, non-government organizations and cooperatives in the Philippines, while the Citizen’s Registry would provide the government with a comprehensive record of all Filipinos under file in the system.